Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Clinton talks trade in Africa

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives in Kenya, her first stop in a seven-nation Africa tour.

Her arrival comes as the US is looking at ways to boost trade with sub-Saharan Africa.

That trade now accounts for little more than 1 percent of total U.S. exports and about only 3 percent of U.S. imports.

At a gathering of the Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum Clinton sounded an optimistic note.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, saying:

"The ingredients are all here for an extraordinary explosion of growth, prosperity and progress

Clinton's seven nation tour, following U.S. President Barack Obama trip to Ghana last month, gives the US a chance to recalibrate its relationship with Africa, as it increasingly competes with China on the continent.

China's diplomatic and trade links with Africa have deepened in recent years, with most investments dominated by minerals and oil.

Steven Clemons of the New America Foundation.

Steven Clemons of the New America Foundation., saying:

"China has in ways quiet different from us been pursuing a kind of mercantile and commercial approach to African economic development where I think our approach to African on the whole has been more a philanthropic exercise. As sort of a Sunday school exercise of trying to help deal with poverty, AIDS, the sort of down side problems of Africa. And, I think that you know the difficultly in that is it puts us always in the dower, the sort of the worst bucket of problems, and China on the other hand is building everything from football stadiums to dams and telecommunications facilities and to some degree on an economic basis China has been building the new economic and political elites in these countries."

Clinton's top diplomat for Africa has dismissed talk of rivalry with China in Africa , saying the White House was not following a "Cold War paradigm."

Clinton's trip includes stops in South Africa and Nigeria.

Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters